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Freeports should be more than just customs, says BPA

[ June 25, 2019   //   ]

The British Ports Association (BPA) has welcomed a study published by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) think tank on future post Brexit trade but calls for more vision on the future of freeports. It says that many of the customs advantages of freeports can already be achieved with routine permissions and calls instead for ports to be granted special planning and development status to stimulate economic activity.

BPA chief executive Richard Ballantyne said: “It’s right that we debate future trading models but in their current form the proposals on free ports are unlikely to lead to the ‘game changing’ measures some in and outside the UK ports have imagined. Development rules and enterprise stimulus around both sea and airports could lead to real growth around our international gateways. Regional growth could be achieved by enabling ports, tenants, manufacturers and traders to develop and expand around our ports, in areas with a plentiful workforce and suitable ambitions.”

As well as establishing free ports after Brexit, the CPS recommendations include              the promotion of a truly open and flexible future trade policy; introduction of a network of ‘Opportunity Zones’ in the UK’s most economically deprived areas to incentivise foreign direct investment and boost British businesses; government campaigns; and reforms to export credit  to encourage exporting

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